First program: Justin Lews - Media & Consumer Capitalism
Rene Descartes, the 17th century French philosopher once said, “I think, therefore I am.” In today’s context it may be more like, I buy therefore I am. Orchestrated wants driven by sophisticated advertising techniques have created a culture of consumption. Appetites for the latest hot thing are engineered. Media campaigns sell cool and sexy. Marketing is key. Data are collected. People are profiled, then targeted. Cell phones. Have to get the latest one with all new features, faster processor and design. We can’t be left behind. More sales means more profits. The capitalist economic system is predicated on making money and barely considers the environmental effects down the road. That’s somebody else’s problem. In the U.S., consumerism is connected to ideology. Freedom is equated with the ability to buy things. But the pattern of endless consumption is not sustainable.
Second program: Richard Heinberg - The End of Growth
There is almost a mystical belief in growth. Nature’s bounty was there to be exploited by man. There is endless palaver about growth as an economic panacea that will cure all ills. Economists have long postulated that growth is normal and natural and could go on forever. But can it? Conventional views of growth are incompatible with the capacity and well being of the planet. The Earth Policy Institute says, we are “on an economic path that is environmentally unsustainable, a path that is leading us toward economic decline and collapse. Environmental scientists have been saying for sometime that the global economy is being slowly undermined by the trends of environmental destruction and disruption, including shrinking forests, expanding deserts, falling water tables, eroding soils, collapsing fisheries, rising temperatures, melting ice, rising seas and increasingly destructive storms."
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